We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Sandlin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I always knew, even growing up, that I was not suited for the 9-to-5. That lifestyle doesn’t work for my personality and core values of solitude, flexibility, and creative freedom. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit but for a long time couldn’t figure out how it would manifest (lots of throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what would stick). I went to school for journalism and took a few different jobs in communications before I found a knack and love for graphic design. After working full-time as a graphic designer for someone else, I realized — hey, I could do this on my own — and jumped at the opportunity. I had no real safety net or plan, but I was young, a bit naive, and it worked out. Slowly my business morphed from graphic design to illustration, and now to primarily painting and some writing. I couldn’t have imagined or planned this, and I know it will continue to evolve, probably endlessly. This doesn’t stress me out, though, it makes me excited to know nothing will stay the same. I thrive on change.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
It’s hard to define or talk about my art because it is constantly evolving. I think the throughline of all my work (both visual and writing) is a consistent commitment to my truth — exactly what I want and need to process and express. Some may call this selfish, but it’s what I feel called to do in this lifetime — share my very personal experiences, reflections, visions — because I truly believe the universal lies in the specific. I’ve definitely gotten off track, because I’m human, but I’m more dedicated than ever to speaking and creating from a genuine place inside of me. It’s easy to move into the head and get creatively blocked by thinking my art or writing needs to be a certain way — more intellectual, abstract, philosophical, etc. When I choose to stay rooted in my body and feelings I find it’s much easier and fulfilling to paint, draw, write. I am a forever work in process, so I know it’s inevitable that I will once again get caught up in the headspace vs. the heartspace. The important part is to suspend self-judgment and gently course-correct.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My only hobbies outside of art are pretty much just eating food and being outside, so I would probably take them on a few early morning hikes. I love walking the mellow trails in Boulder behind my house. I’m so lucky and privileged to be able to access open space by foot from where I live. I would also take them to the river in Lefthand Canyon for a cold plunge (no matter what the season). And maybe a day trip to my favorite spot in all of Colorado — Twin Lakes. As for food (assuming everything is open and it is safe), we would be sure to hit Safta for (mainly) their unlimited wood-fired pita bread, City O’ City for a vegan brunch followed by a walk to the Denver Art Museum, Cart-Driver for late-night $6 Daisy pizzas, and the Comal Heritage Food Incubator, which I haven’t yet been to but am very eager to experience!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My dear friend, Cait Flanders. She made the jump to start working for herself around the same time. Her books, especially her latest — Adventures In Opting Out — inspire me to stand tall in my decisions and worth. I’m so honored not only to call her a friend and creative confidant but also a client. https://caitflanders.com/
Portrait by Chris Chen